Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Birthday Gifts for June, July and August

  I've got a lot of shirts to share! So, in order of birthday, here they are!

First, my sister-in-law's Lane Raglan, with curved hem and 3/4 sleeves, neckline raised 1" and neckband shortened to match.

  The fabrics are from Girl Charlee some time ago, and no longer available. I also used the floral here

  I wish I'd had dark blue for the vinyl instead of the pink, but this was the best coordinate I had!

  I twin-needled all of the hems, but I should have stabilized them better first. Particularly that curved hem... it stretched out enough that even a good steaming left it pretty wavy.

  Next, my oldest brother's gift. His is Jalie 2918, crew-neck, short sleeves. He's definitely a coffee-lover!

  I'm pretty pleased with the lettering I came up with for 'yawn' and 'coffee'. =)

  I tried making a small dip in the center back neckband seam to pull in some of the excess... it helped a little, but it's still a bit wavy.

  The fabric for this (and all the other black shirts in this post!) is from Nick of Time Textiles. I still really love this knit! 

  I'm really pleased with the hems on this shirt too:

  All three of the June gifts were for the same family! This one was for my nephew.

  I wanted to do something different for this one, so I altered a bodysuit pattern I own to have a crew neck with snaps at the shoulder. I'm really happy that I had snaps and vinyl that matched!

  I interfaced just the portion where the snaps would be to prevent them from pulling through the fabric:

  I used fold-over-elastic to finish the sleeves and neckline, but I didn't stretch it nearly enough on the neckline... I really wish I'd picked it out and redone it! I also wish I'd hemmed the sleeves in the round instead of the flat. It's more fiddly but it's almost always worth it.

  I also hemmed this one with a band.

  Next, for my youngest brother, who is a musician-in-training. I really wanted to make this one from black fabric with white vinyl, but I thought I was out of white vinyl. So my second choice was black vinyl on a different fabric, and this red was what I had that worked best with it. Excuse the photos... I tried under-exposing them to avoid blown-out reds and it didn't work.

  This is also Jalie 2918, crew neck, long sleeves.  The fabric is from Girl Charlee, also used here.

   July's second birthday was my youngest nephew. I waited a long time to sew this one because I was busy being unreasonably miffed about an un-replied-to text message. Fortunately I realized how silly I was being! ;-) I was planning a totally different design for this shirt, and changed my mind as I was making it, so I forgot to put in a 'that' before the 'you' in the quote. 

  This fabric has a really snappy stretch, so I should have lengthened the binding... it's causing some puckering. Other than that I feel like I did a really good job with the finish on this one!

  Finally, my dad's birthday was this month! (And I already posted about Becker's birthday gift!) For him I made Jalie 2918, crew neck, long sleeves. I lengthened the sleeves by 1.5" for him.

  I made the neckband slightly narrower, and made the ends of the neckband piece slightly concave, which translates to the top edge being slightly shorter than the bottom edge once sewn. It really helped with all that waviness!

  What I'm doing for the hems now is using heat and bond lite, cut into long strips as deep as my hem allowance. I press it on the wrong side at the raw edge, then remove the paper backing and press most of the hem up with the shirt still flat. After the side seams are sewn I press the rest of the hem up, then sew with a stretch twin needle using a lengthened stitch and wooly nylon in the bobbin. It works beautifully for these fabrics! I haven't tried it on anything thinner though:

  This is the denim blue 12 oz fabric from Nick of Time Textiles, and white vinyl (it was hiding out between two sheets of black vinyl.)

  And a matching tag because I've been learning calligraphy lately:

  I have no more birthday sewing until the last week of September! 

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, August 12, 2016

Third Birthday Drop-Waisted Dress

  For Becker's recent 3rd birthday, I sewed something super-simple:

  As with Booper's and Gaiw's third birthdays, I made some quick additions to a inexpensive ready-to-wear shirt, and sewed an accessory.

  I actually couldn't find a plain shirt in Becker's size, so I ended up buying one size up and slimming the sides down with my serger. The extra length gave me the idea for a drop-waist, but I thought gathers in this fabric would end up really bulky so I settled on a circle for the skirt portion.

  Which of course Beckers loves because it's twirly! ;-)

  I lettuce-edged the hem, then lettuce-edged an oval and a strip of the fabric (also used here) and turned them into a bow, which I sewed on by hand at the neckline.

  The headband is a long strip of knit (I think it was 27" long) lettuce-edged all the way around, and tied in a knot! I think it's super-cute on her!

  I'm having a hard time believing this little girl is three! She's my snuggler, and in a funny little voice says, 'Mama, I need you.' before climbing in my lap.

  Beckers is a bashful little girl, and loves to look at picture books and make up stories to go along with them.

  That doesn't mean she can't play with the best of them though! She's full of mischief and loves to make people laugh.

  When she's happy she has the cutest little squinty-eyed smile, and she has a penchant for climbing things and jumping off!

  She is the politest little girl I've ever met, and the one who needs the most hugs. She loves make-believe, and is much more likely to respond to a request if you pretend along with her!

  We are so happy that she is a part of our family.

  In addition to the dress and headband, she received a yo-yo (which subsequently became a 'pet turtle'), a recorder, and, at her request, a green flashlight. I also made her a cake! I planned to carve it into a teardrop shape, so I baked a cake from scratch thinking it would hold up better, then managed to drop one layer and break it. I decided I could just make it smaller, but when I tried to crumb-coat it, the layers crumbled all over the place! So I mixed the crumbs with the frosting, popped it in the freezer to firm up, then molded it into the right shape like a cake pop. ;-) I made marshmallow fondant, rolled some into sort-of circle shapes, and added it around the cake. I also added fondant leaves. It ended up like this:

  I'm pretty happy with it, although there things I'd change if I were to do it again! First, I'd freeze the cake layers before the crumb coat, as suggested by Sarah! Second, I would try using regular fondant instead of marshmallow fondant, as I think it's a little firmer, and I would make more of it so I'd have enough for a full-blown rose. I would set the inner petals lower, so they don't rise above the tip of the cake, and I'd make them shorter, so the base of the rose wouldn't end up with so much fondant on it! But still, it's much better than a lot of my cake attempts! ;-)

  Beckers loved it- she kept saying, "It's my birthday, because I'm the birthday girl! And I am three!"

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Étage Dress

  I bought the Étage pattern from Sew Straight and Gather some time ago on a black Friday sale... I think in 2014! So in the interest of reducing the number of un-sewn patterns I own, I made it up for Gaiw.

  I used some black cotton spandex knit from Nick of Time Textiles, a rose-print rayon jersey knit from Girl Charlee (also used here), and some white cotton spandex from Girl Charlee for the interior.

  While Gaiw loves her new dress and I think it's pretty cute, I can't say I'm particularly pleased with the pattern. Firstly, there are a lot of pieces to print, and some of them feel pretty redundant.

  For example, the back and front outer bodice are identical except for the neckline, but are printed as two separate pattern pieces, and the same is true of the bodice lining pieces. The main hog is those tiers, but again, a slight pattern change (swapping the a-line interior for a simpler rectangle) would eliminate several pattern pieces. It's not a huge deal, and I understand why the pieces are the way they are, but I don't love it.

  Also, very few of those pieces are trued and the armscye is excessively tall and shallow... there is less than 2" of width there!

  I would like it better if the pattern matched the illustration too, with the longest point of the bodice over-layer hitting at the side seam, instead of slightly to the front and back.

  The pieces fit together well though, and for the most part the instructions were decent. There are some inconsistencies in things like hemming methods though... one of which would result in a hem 2cm longer than another one.

The fit seems pretty true-to size- I chose a size using Gaiw's chest measurement, then based on the finished measurements I added some length to the bottom tier only (I wish I'd spread the additional length through all of the pieces for a more balanced look) and it hits where I expected.

 I lettuce-edged the sleeves:

  And all of the other hems!

  I'd raise the neckline in the front, but that's just my preference.

  I really like the idea of this dress, and the end result is pretty cute, but I don't think I'd make it again without some changes.

  I noticed that it's not available in the Sew Straight and Gather shop at the moment though, so maybe it's being updated? I hope so! =)

  Thanks for stopping by,